CRT votes are in, but the turnout is low

Canal Boat - - News -

SUPPORTERS OF HIS­TORIC BOATS, cruis­ing clubs, the In­land Wa­ter­ways As­so­ci­a­tion and con­tin­u­ous cruis­ing have been suc­cess­ful in the elec­tion for boater rep­re­sen­ta­tives on the Canal & River Trust’s Coun­cil. How­ever, dis­ap­point­ingly few el­i­gi­ble boaters voted. The win­ning can­di­dates were: An­drew Phasey, Com­modore of St Pan­cras Cruis­ing Club Phil Pret­ty­man, Chair of the His­toric Nar­row Boat Club Stella Ridg­way, con­tin­u­ous cruiser Vaughan Welch, of IWA nav­i­ga­tion and restora­tion com­mit­tees. There were also elec­tions in three other cat­e­gories: the new place rep­re­sent­ing CRT vol­un­teer­ing went to Ian McCarthy, a vol­un­teer lock­keeper. Two seats for boat­ing busi­nesses were won by Nigel Hamil­ton (of H& H Train­ing and Con­sult­ing Ser­vice and Chair of Bri­tish Marine Tourism) and float­ing trader An­drew Tidy of the Jam Butty. Fi­nally, the one place for CRT staff went to John El­lis, Na­tional Fish­eries Man­ager.

None of the can­di­dates se­cured the nec­es­sary five valid nom­i­na­tions for the new rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Friends of CRT; un­suc­cess­ful can­di­date Ni­cola Ben­jamin has there­fore been co-opted for a two-year pe­riod, with a by-elec­tion planned for au­tumn 2017.

CRT Chair­man Al­lan Leighton thanked “all those who put them­selves for­ward for elec­tion, and all those who voted for them”. How­ever, the num­bers of both of th­ese were lower than last time.

The boater rep­re­sen­ta­tives’ elec­tion was open to all 12-month li­cence hold­ers, plus those who had been put on shorter-term li­cences by CRT as part of its ac­tion on ‘non-com­pli­ant con­tin­u­ous cruis­ers’ – in fact the elec­tion had to be ex­tended for an ex­tra six days as a re­sult of an ini­tial fail­ure to in­clude those boaters in the mailouts. That makes a to­tal of 27,280 – but just 1,860 ( 6.8%) of them ac­tu­ally voted.

That com­pares to 7,556 boaters (26%) at the last elec­tions in 2012, when there were 33 can­di­dates on of­fer com­pared with eight this time. Mean­while the turnout for boat­ing busi­ness fell from 37% to 11.1% and for employees from 44% to 25.8%.

The new coun­cil, com­pris­ing the win­ners, those nom­i­nated by bod­ies, and the re­gional CRT part­ner­ship chairs, meets in March.

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